Arthur Mainwaring

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Sir Arthur Mainwaring (c. 1580 – 1648) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1624 to 1626.


Mainwaring was the eldest son of Sir George Mainwaring of Ightfield, Shropshire and Ann More, daughter of William More.[1]

He was awarded BA from Brasenose College, Oxford on 7 July 1598 and MA on 15 June 1601.[2] He began a rise to prominence working for Sir Thomas Egerton, in whose household he was steward from 1602 to 1617.[1][3] John Payne Collier published records by Mainwaring relating to a performance of Othello for Queen Elizabeth at this period; these were later recognised as forgeries, however.[4] A genuine connection with William Shakespeare was an attempt led by Mainwaring in 1614 to enclose lands at Welcombe near Stratford-upon-Avon, defeated by local resistance.[5] He was declared of Cheshire when he was knighted at the London Charterhouse on 11 May 1603.[6]

Mainwaring also and concurrently became a courtier, carver in the household of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales from 1604. He was appointed Clerk of the Pipe at the Exchequer from 1610 to 1616.

His financial position was improved when he became heir to Francis Wolley who died in 1609, despite litigation from family members.[1] He became notorious as the lover of Anne Turner, hanged in 1615 for her part in the murder case of Sir Thomas Overbury.[7] The relationship, seemingly tolerated by Anne's husband Dr. George Turner who died in 1610, led to children but no marriage.[8] Arthur Wilson claimed that she bought powders from Simon Forman to try to bring him to wed her.[9]

In 1624, Mainwaring was elected Member of Parliament for Huntingdon for the Happy Parliament. He was re-elected MP for Huntingdon in 1625 and 1626.[10] From 1628 to around 1642 he served as Lieutenant of Windsor Forest. In 1641 the forest was the scene of disorder and poaching of the deer, and he recommended firm action around Egham, which was however thwarted by local sympathies.[11] He had objected at the beginning of the reign of Charles I to the East India Company's gunpowder mills on the edge of Windsor Forest;[12] later, in 1635, he was himself in the gunpowder business with Andrew Pitcairn.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Mainwaring, Arthur (1580–1648), History of Parliament
  2. ^ 'Alumni Oxonienses, 1500-1714: Mab-Marygold', Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714 (1891), pp. 956-982. Date accessed: 5 May 2012
  3. ^ Louis A. Knafla; Sir Thomas Egerton (1977). Law and Politics in Jacobean England: The Tracts of Lord Chancellor Ellesmere. Cambridge University Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-521-21191-8. 
  4. ^ Arthur Freeman; Janet Ing Freeman (2004). John Payne Collier: Scholarship and Forgery in the Nineteenth Century. Yale University Press. pp. 1118–9. ISBN 978-0-300-13330-1. 
  5. ^ Pogue, Kate (1 January 2006). Shakespeare's Friends. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 33–4. ISBN 978-0-275-98956-9. 
  6. ^ Knights of England
  7. ^ Bellany, Alastair (29 January 2007). The Politics of Court Scandal in Early Modern England: News Culture and the Overbury Affair, 1603-1660. Cambridge University Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-521-03543-9. 
  8. ^ A. L. Rowse (1974). Simon Forman: Sex and Society in Shakespeare's Age. Purnell Book Services. pp. 256–7. 
  9. ^ Somerset, Anne (2003). Unnatural Murder: Poison at the Court of James I. Phoenix. pp. 95–6. ISBN 0 75380 198 1. 
  10. ^ Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 .. London. p. 187-218. 
  11. ^ Gurney, John (15 July 2007). Brave Community: The Digger Movement in the English Revolution. Manchester University Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-7190-6102-8. 
  12. ^ Edward Arthur Brayley Hodgetts and Tom Gregorie Tullock, The Rise and Progress of the British Explosives Industry (1909) pp. 240–1;
  13. ^ Hodgetts and Tullock, pp. 276–7;
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Henry St John
Sir Miles Sandys, 1st Baronet
Member of Parliament for Huntingdon
With: Sir Henry St John 1624–1625
John Goldsborough
Succeeded by
Oliver Cromwell
James Montagu